In the English language, we joke about people and things being “a pain in the neck.” But, when you have actual neck pain, it’s nothing to laugh at. Neck pain, whether acute or chronic, can seriously impact daily life. I know this personally, as I had major neck surgery a few years ago. Below you will find the main reasons for neck pain.
Psychological and physiological causes
According to a study on neck pain published by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, neck pain is common and it can be challenging to figure out why you have it since it can have several causes, both psychological and physiological. In some cases, the neck isn’t even involved at all, the pain is simply a symptom of a problem elsewhere in the body. The difficulty with finding the cause is due to the physiology of the neck, as the bones, nerves, muscles, and tendons are so close together.
There are two types of neck pain: acute and chronic. Acute neck pain lasts for a short amount of time, while chronic neck pain can last for a minimum of three months.
According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care, both types of neck pain can have the same causes:
Repetitive movement (of lack of movement) that weakens the muscles
Overuse of the cervical spine joints
Wear and tear of spinal discs
Issues with the vertebral canal
Inflammation of spine or jaw
How aging affects neck pain
Often, neck pain is a result of aging. But, some people do develop problems like osteochondrosis or spondylosis. These disorders show up with reduced space between the vertebrae and with bone spurs developing on the edges of the vertebrae. Age does not affect whether or not people develop osteochondrosis.
Spondylosis and similar disorders
Spondylosis is easier for health care providers to diagnose. According to research published in the BMJ, spondylosis is diagnosed with a combination of these symptoms:
Pain between the occiput, scapula, and arms
Pain in the retro-orbital or temporal region
Stiffness in the neck
Numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms
Neck pain that is irritated by movement
Neck pain due to injuries, whiplash and repetitive use
Neck pain can be caused by injuries (whiplash, falls, etc) and repetitive movements/actions such as running, swimming and cycling. People who suffer from acute neck pain often visit chiropractic clinics such as Better Health Chiropractic in Anchorage. According to a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, it was found that chiropractic care helped ease acute neck pain. In the study, no adverse reactions were reported to the chiropractic treatment.
Dr. Brent Wells, D.C. founded Better Health Chiropractic & Physical Rehab in Alaska in 1998 and has been a chiropractor for over 20 years. His practice has treated thousands of patients from different health problems using various services designed to help give you long-lasting relief.
Dr. Wells is also the author of over 700 online health articles that have been featured on sites such as Dr. Axe and Lifehack. He is a proud member of the American Chiropractic Association and the American Academy of Spine Physicians. And he continues his education to remain active and updated in all studies related to neurology, physical rehab, biomechanics, spine conditions, brain injury trauma, and more.